City’s share of transit plan costs could be equivalent to 2 per cent tax hike

By News Staff

Queen’s Park and City Hall will split the $7-billion cost of funding new transit lines across Toronto, but it could come at a cost for homeowners in the city.

Ontario will contribute $3.7 billion to cover additional track capacity and to electrify the GO network so it can be used for SmartTrack. The province will also pay to upgrade 11 existing Toronto GO stations for the SmartTrack network, and to build regional express rail (RER) stations at Spadina/Fort York and Bloor Lansdowne.

Toronto will pay $3.3 billion for six new SmartTrack stations. The six stations, previously announced in June, will be located at Unilever, Liberty Village, St Clair West, Gerrard, Lawrence East and Finch.

The city is also paying to build the Eglinton West LRT. It’s estimated the city will spend $1.1 billion on heavy projects, and $2.2 billion for Eglinton West.

“This agreement means that after years of talk, indecision and delay, we are actually getting on with building the transit Toronto residents so badly need, through a partnership with the province that will mean faster timelines and lower costs,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

The city said it would pay its share through a combination of tax increment financing (TIFs), development fees, and other measures. But the plan still has to go to city council for approval.

A staff report on Monday outlines an anticipated residential property tax increase of two per cent.


A special executive committee meeting will be held at City Hall at 1 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss SmartTrack and the transit funding proposal.

Transportation minister Steven Del Duca said the transit agreement will go beyond Toronto.

“We are happy to see that – together – we have come to an agreement that will deliver more transit solutions for the residents of Toronto and the GTHA,” Del Duca said in a statement.

Monday’s funding agreement also covers the Eglinton West LRT (light-rail transit), Eglinton Crosstown, and the Finch and Sheppard LRTs. The province will pay 100 per cent of the cots of building and maintaining the Finch and Sheppard LRTs over their lifecycle. However, the city is responsible for operating the lines and day-to-day maintenance. The city will keep the fares.

The province had given the city until Nov. 30 to finalize how much money it would commit to the project.

The city’s total cost is expected to go down once the federal government finalizes their contribution.

Not included in the $7 billion are five planned separated rail crossings. However, Toronto and Ontario said they had worked out a funding agreement: The province will pay 85 per cent and the city will pay for 15 per cent.

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